March 25 • 09:05 PM

Young love's sweet in Imlay

High school's a busy place for Valentine's deliveries

Imlay City High School junior class members Chelsea Thompson, Spencer Seaman, Kelly Carland, Kali Van Dyk, class advisor Kathy Godin, EJ Webster and Kelsey Bosch gear up for Valentine’s Day with flower and heart message sale. photo by Catherine Minolli.

February 11, 2009
IMLAY CITY — How do I love thee? Let me count the ways. And count, and count, and count some more.

That just might be the amendment high school office personnel would make to Elizabeth Barrett Browning's famous love when Valentine's Day draws near.

And the florists, well, they may say 'How do I love thee? Let me show you the ways...' as the mother of all hearts-and-flowers days reaches its pinnacle every February 14.

Always a huge event at flower and candy shops, Valentine's Day has become quite the thing at area high schools.

Dozens of deliveries are accepted at the front office, so many that they've limited classroom delivery times.

"It's pretty crazy," chuckles Fran Weingartz, longtime secretary at Imlay City High School. "We've gotten to where we only deliver at third hour and sixth hour."

That change came about a couple of years ago, Weingartz says, because the increasing number of Valentines gifts that were arriving for students began to cut into classroom time.

"We were constantly delivering flowers and it was interrupting classes all day," Weingartz says. "It has really grown a lot in the past few years."

Initially, the few deliveries to classrooms weren't a problem, Weingartz recalls. But over the past five years the front office has taken in more than 50 Valentine's Day gifts. They now load them onto office carts and run them up the elevator for delivery.

Flowers, of course, are popular. Other tokens of love and affection delivered to the high school include large stuffed animals, balloons, candy and trinkets.

"Some of the bouquets that come in here are just gorgeous," Weingartz notes. "The boyfriends have very good taste."

While boyfriends send Valentine's greetings to girlfriends and vice versa, the gift-giving isn't limited to romantic love.

"A lot of young people send Valentine's friend-to-friend. They do that more than older people do." says Joi Kempf of Kempf's Imlay City Florist.

Kempf's has made many deliveries to the high school on Valentine's Day since they opened shop, a service they provide at no charge because it's enjoyable for them, too.

"It's fun to get it there on Valentine's Day," Kempf says. "With Valentine's Day and Mother's Day it's mostly about the delivery part. People like to get those things at work or at school. It makes them feel special."

This year may be a little different, though. Valentine's Day is this Saturday, and Imlay City Schools' will be closed on Friday.

"With no school on the 13th it might make a difference," Kempf adds.

Still, she's already noticed some Valentine's Day trends this year—some which haven't changed over the years.

"Gerbera daisies are a big deal right now but usually only girls know that, boys don't," Kempf grins. "Boys mostly go for the rose or carnation, but girls are ordering Gerbera daisies."

Balloons are also popular, as are stuffed animals and of course candy.

As for the grown-ups, most shoppers are men and most of them go for the same thing, Kempf says.

"Most men buy what they see, what you have made," Kempf notes. "They're conditioned to buy a dozen roses, that's the most popular thing. Usually red. But last year colors were big as well."

Alas, the red rose became the most popular Valentine flopwer because it was the favorite flower of Venus, the Roman goddess of love.

As for cards, statistics reveal that teachers will receive the greatest number of Valentine's greetings. It's also second only to Christmas as when it comes to card-sending occasions.

Though high schoolers won't be in class the day before Valentine's Day, they will have reminders of the friends who love them. The junior class, under the direction of advisor Kathy Godin, is selling flowers that will be delivered on Thursday with a personalized, heart-shaped Valentine's message attached. They'll also come with some delicious 'chocolate lips,' donated by Chocolate Inked Sweet Shoppe in Metamora.

"We'll attach the messages to the flower and candy and deliver them to the classes," Godin explains. "It's always a surprise to the other students when they get one, or two, or fifteen..."

So, how do they love thee? You can count the ways...

Castle Creek
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